This week Rebecca and Emma from R.I.S.E. delivered our first ever SHSM (Specialist High Skills Major) Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship training for Ms Kelly’s Health and Wellness SHSM. Each youth was partnered with a community organization that fit their passions. They met with them virtually, learned about them and the issues that they are solving, were given ideas on what they could do to help their organization. Below is Rebecca’s actionable piece. She got to learn about Osgoode Youth Association and write about what she learned. Read below!!
Have you Heard of OYA? By Rebecca Cocchetto
I had the opportunity today to learn about the Osgoode Youth Association, and what they do to help rural teenagers and kids. They provide many different services for their community and help to give youth a place to feel comfortable and safe.
It is often difficult for rural youth to find fun things to do, as many businesses and services are too far away to easily access. The Osgoode Youth Association offers a place for youth to do organized activities, and even just a hangout spot for teenagers throughout the week. There are before and after school programs for kids in grades 2-6, with structured and unstructured time to do a variety of activities. Before school, OYA will help them get ready for the day, with brushing their teeth and getting dressed. Their school bus will actually pick them up at the OYA centre, making the process easy and stress-free for parents. After school is for homework and play, with delicious snacks and some personal health education (how to handle bullying, learning yoga, and more). They also offer camps during the summer, winter break, PA days, and March break, essentially whenever school is not in session.
Teens are given different, but equally as entertaining options at OYA. Currently there are teen drop-in nights on Thursday and Fridays, not to mention the many other activities that they frequently run. There are video game competitions, cooking and baking in OYA’s kitchen, classes to expand personal skills, and much more. Teenagers can have a safe space to do their homework and hangout with their friends, and enjoy the different activities that OYA offers.
OYA also has the opportunity for youth-led counselling. It is a private area, youth can enter at the side of the building so that they do not have to walk past programs in the front. Youth can book their own appointments and it is completely free of charge. It is easily accessible to kids aged 12-17, providing support and help that might not otherwise be available.
OYA is an excellent resource for rural youth, and provides a safe space for youth of many ages. Their events and regular care of youth provide a caring community for those who might need it. They can be found on Instagram and Facebook with the handle @oyacentre.